Aug 19, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips (4) reacts after scoring during the fourth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

In Reds Country, It’s Martial Law


Dusty Baker comes under fire for a lot of things, especially in Cincinnati. Lineups, the rotation and bullpen moves are daily topics in this part of the world. Most of it can realistically be written off as just fan frustration. When we’re tweeting about Baker’s refusal to bring Chapman into now the seventh inning, we’re asking Baker to change the game of baseball, because it’s not just Baker who isn’t doing that, it’s all 30 managers. This kind of criticism will happen nightly, because that’s all we have in a 162 game season.  And while it makes for sometimes intriguing fodder, there’s just little merit to the daily questioning of Baker.

However, what’s recently gaining merit at a rapid pace is the notion of a leaderless clubhouse. This season, fans have pretty much seen it all from the Reds. And not even talking about errors – that’s part of baseball. But the multiple base running miscues, the mental lapses that cause even the highest paid guys in uniforms to forget how many outs there are, the inability to simply wear the sunglasses sitting on the bill so that infield pop flies are caught; there’s been room for skepticism. If you were still sold that Baker has everything under control, last night had to be your tipping point, no?

BP, as he often is, must have been feeling pretty confident. Confident enough to interrupt his manager’s scheduled media time. Confident enough to drop those kind of bars on a reporter just doing his job. Confident enough to do all of this without any fear of repercussions from the Skipper. And why should he? Does this response make you believe Baker holds his players accountable?

“I ain’t in that, man. That is between you and him.”

What?

He’s not in it? It’s his baseball team. It’s his ship, he’s the captain. If this is Walgreens, he’s the store manager. If this is a boat house, Baker is the foreman. And while Baker would conveniently like to be left out of this, fact of the matter is, he is responsible for the actions of his players, at least when they’re in the clubhouse, wearing a uniform, getting ready for a game. Baker’s refusal to intervene, and worse, his expression during the entire thing, may be indicative of a certain criticism that follows Baker like a fan on Twitter. That Baker doesn’t have control of that clubhouse. That there is a real void in leadership. That guys are not being held accountable. Baker could have said one word and this isn’t even a story. Instead, he let’s Brandon, once again, hand Sports Center exactly what they needed to end a show a with.

At some point, doesn’t it get old? We’re in the middle of a pennant race. Reds fans everywhere were just talking themselves off the purple bridge and now can hardly even enjoy the colossal beat down of the Cards along with Bailey’s first win at Busch. Nope, instead today’s Reds fodder will circle around Brandon Phillips, as it has in the past, for reasons that are frankly not concerning baseball or the push for the NL Central.

If the Reds don’t take that next step this year, then perhaps it’s time for upper management to start installing the kind of accountability in this clubhouse that prevents guys from making themselves look like caricatures. Brandon will be Brandon, there’s no reason to act surprised or get mad, he is who he is. Though in all fairness, personally tearing down a reporter whose job it is to report facts about all things Reds, including BP’s OBP, is pretty weak, even by the most liberal of standards.

Considering all the things a manager cannot control but is still held accountable for in baseball, you’d think Baker would at least capitalize on something he can. But maybe like everything else we speculate on daily, he’s not in that either.

Tags: Brandon Phillips Ctrent Dusty Baker Enquirer Reds

  • JD Rentz

    Thanks, Tyler, for expressing my own thoughts on this matter very well. I’m not entirely pro-Dusty or anti-Dusty, but, lately, his inaction is speaking volumes towards his leadership style or lack thereof.

  • Paul Harmon

    The argument between BP and the reporter is no big deal. BP lost his cool. Manager was surprised and handled the situation well by staying out of it. I criticize Dusty a lot but not this time. It wasn’t fist fight but simply BP letting off steam. Sorry, no story here.

    • itswhatever

      appreciate you chiming in, but you might want to tell every media outlet in existence it isn’t a story either.

      • Shawn Smith

        MLB network let it go (Harold Reynolds and Mitch Williams both said it wasn’t a big deal), Fox Spots one (yeah I know, MLB network IS Fox) dropped it, only sensationalistic ESPN kept the story going..oh, and btw….BP has an OBP of around .500 since moving to the 2 spot…suck it rosencrans. Why would a ‘reporter doing his job’ rag on a guy with over 90 RBI for his OBP in the cleanup spot…it was uncalled for and I for one am glad BP ripped him a new one….different spots in the lineup have different expectations. c. trent might want to understand baseball, then write about it.

        • itswhatever

          define “rag on” – the tweet literally mentioned both TF’s and BP’s OBP, no more, no less. It’s his job to report facts. That’s what he did.

  • Pingback: Bigger Than Hoped: BP/CTR Flap Hits TMZ, Overseas - Blog Red Machine